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Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics$
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Wm. Theodore de Bary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153973

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.001.0001

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A Dream of Red Mansions

A Dream of Red Mansions

(p.174) 13 A Dream of Red Mansions
Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics

C. T. Hsia

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses A Dream of Red Mansions (Honglou meng) by Cao Xüeqin (1715–1763). The novel is about the aristocratic Jia clan, which has enjoyed imperial favor for generations. As an eighteenth-century work, the novel draws fully upon Chinese literary tradition and can be regarded as its crowning achievement. As a late-traditional man of letters, its author is aware of the encyclopedic scope of Chinese learning and the heritage of earlier fiction and drama. He has made use of the Ming domestic novel Jinping mei and the romantic masterpieces of Yuan-Ming drama such as The Romance of the Western Chamber (Xi-xiang ji) and The Peony Pavilion (Mu-dan ting). But his novel is greater than these not only for its fuller representation of Chinese culture and thought but for its incomparably richer delineation of character in psychological terms.

Keywords:   Chinese novels, Asian classics, classic texts, A Dream of Red Mansions, by Cao Xüeqin, Honglou meng

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